Lesson Learned from 2017: Digitization Helps Boost Business Continuity

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For many people across the globe, the year 2017 will be viewed as a memorable one.  Highlights included sweeping changes in the political landscape, a near record year for severe storms, and on the business side of things, significant disruptions across industries in the way new digitized technologies captured, stored, and analyzed data. During 2017, nothing stood in place and competition for new customers across all industries was intense.

The Schneider Electric blog hosts hundreds of blogs focused on better ways to improve business efficiency, connectivity, and profitability. Some of the most highly viewed blogs of 2017 addressed a common theme of how to best preserve business continuity.

For example, Hans Luppens’ piece entitled “Why Hospitals Are Linking Business Continuity to Improved Patient Satisfaction” illustrated how much of the work that goes into creating a patient-friendly hospital environment is hidden behind the scenes. Sensors within the rooms gather an abundance of comfort, safety, and energy consumption data. Then building analytics software converts that data into actionable intelligence that improves the energy efficiency performance of the facility and boosts patient satisfaction. Underpinning this network of human comfort “sensing” devices is a backbone of physical infrastructure assets such as power and HVAC systems that, when engineered properly, are effective at safeguarding both systems uptime and patient comfort.

Philippe Carle, in his “Operational Risks Justify Oil & Gas Business Continuity Planning” blog made the point that, in the oil & gas industry, converting effective risk management into business opportunities is one of the critical ways of gaining a competitive edge. In an industry where the cost of downtime ranges in the millions of dollars per hour, any downtime impacts both direct and indirect expenditures, resulting in lost opportunity and reduced production. Additional expenses accrue when factors such as safety and company reputation are considered. According to Carle, most downtime can be avoided through proper business continuity planning and risk assessment serves as an effective first step in adopting a comprehensive business continuity plan.

Lessons learned from weathering big storms

This year hurricanes, tornadoes, and other powerful storms had high socioeconomic impacts across the globe. Climate scientists now use models and historical data to evaluate with increased precision how global warming affects the odds of given individual weather events. Many are predicting that weather events will increase in severity and frequency in the coming years.

Therefore, the ability to safeguard power infrastructure plays a major role in minimizing disruptions to business continuity when weather situations are less than stable. Patrick Bois in his blog “4 Steps to Rightsizing UPS for IIoT and Critical Power Protection” highlights some important ways in which a critical power protection system, the uninterruptible power supply (UPS) can be properly configured to preserve uptime during both short-term and longer-term power outages. According to Bois, it’s important that a UPS be properly sized by taking into account factors such as the size of the power load, the power consumption nature of the loads being protected, and the projected load growth.  All of these factors need to be considered in order to achieve the goal of higher availability at a reasonable cost.

Christopher Roberts in his blog “How to Justify Hospital Power Infrastructure Investments to Corporate Executives” takes power protection a step further by articulating how operations staff can leverage the monetization of systems uptime to encourage senior executives to invest in facility infrastructure improvements. According to Roberts, achieving buy-in from executives in order to fund technology upgrade projects requires considerable skill. Facility and IT teams need to properly communicate the cost of inaction when outdated technologies are not replaced or upgraded. Proposals that reflect an investment prioritization roadmap emphasizing factors such as investment returns, demonstrated reduced risk, and resources required help executives to make the right technology decisions.

To learn more about business continuity best practices, visit our site for access to resources and information to help keep your power and business running.

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